Greenpeace vessel detained by Spain

Image of the Virgen de la Arrixaca hospital in Murcia. Credit: Google maps - Francisco Sanchez

A GREENPEACE protest ship has been detained by Spanish authorities following an incident earlier in the week that saw an Italian protester injured.

The Arctic Sunrise ship had been in the waters of the Canary Islands to protest against potential oil drilling by Spanish petroleum company Repsol. Last Saturday, activists from the Greenpeace ship approached a Repsol vessel in smaller boats, but were intercepted by the Spanish navy. Greenpeace claim that one of their boats was rammed by a navy vessel, resulting in a protestor falling overboard and injuring her leg on a boat propeller.

Spain’s Ministry of Public Works has now detained the Arctic Sunrise and a case has been opened against Greenpeace for not respecting a maritime exclusion zone. The captain of the Greenpeace vessel, a US national, “cannot move until €50,000 bail is paid,” said Julio Barea, spokesman for Greenpeace.

The ship is being held at Arrecife, Lanzarote. Greenpeace claim that their protest was a peaceful one and released video footage of what appears to be a Spanish navy rhib intentionally ramming one of the Greenpeace boats. Matilda Brunetti, a 23-year-old Italian activist, is reported to have broken her leg in the incident. Another protestor is said to have suffered minor cuts.

It’s reported that the captain and crew of the Arctic Sunrise have not been detained but the ship must remain in port until a bond of €50,000 is paid.

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